Before the pandemic, companies could fly in new hires to their headquarters for a week-long onboarding program, allowing them to meet coworkers, learn the business, and get a first-hand feel for the company culture—making it substantially easier to drive connection and engage remote teams. Today, flying employees around the country is no longer a viable option for companies trying to limit business travel, keep employees safe, and scale back budgets. With most new hires now starting fully remote, many HR teams have had to scramble to adapt their in-person curriculum to the digital world and think outside of the box to make new employees feel a part of the team from day one.
Even before the pandemic, very few employees knew their company values by heart. One survey by employee recognition company Fond reported that only about 1 in 10 HR leaders believe that more than 80% of their employee base is able to recite their company’s core values. And yet, company values can be a strong differentiator as businesses fight to attract the best talent. In fact, 38% of U.S. employees want a job that aligns with their interests and passions, and those numbers are even higher among millennial and Gen Z workers who are more drawn to mission-driven organizations that are aligned to their personal beliefs.
But, the question remains: how can businesses connect remote employees with their core values to engage remote teams? In this article, we share three ways organizations can improve remote employee’s familiarity with and connection to company values.
1. Incorporate your values from day-one
Ensure your employees are familiar with your values from their first day by incorporating them into your new hire training and onboarding programs. Training is an excellent venue to present your values and allow new hires to familiarize themselves with them. To spice up your pieces of training, you can create videos with real employees talking about what the values mean to them and how they incorporate them into their day-to-day roles. That way, your new hires can hear first-hand what your values mean to the organization and grow their familiarity and connect to these messages over time.
2. Increase the visibility of your values
You can’t just mention your company values in passing during new hire onboarding and then expect your employees to live and breathe them every day. In order for people to truly understand your values and use them to engage remote teams, you need to make them part of the fundamental way you do business.
One way to do this is to increase the visibility of your values by bringing them up in a company all-hands, trying your company’s product roadmap to them, and adding cross-functional “bar raisers” to your interview process to assess for a candidate’s culture fit and culture add. Whatever you decide, just know a top-down approach can help improve the visibility of your values, win employee buy-in, and help you lead by example.
3. Incorporate values into moments of connection
In order to ensure you engage remote teams and help employees feel connected to their colleagues and your company culture, you need to build your company values into their daily workday. One way to do this is to allow employees to publicly praise or reward their coworkers for embodying your values and going above and beyond their job descriptions.
Regardless of whether you have employees give a friendly shoutout via your company’s chosen instant messaging software or use an employee recognition platform, giving your workers a designated space to share these accolades can not only improve their familiarity with your values but also teach them what these values look like in practice. Plus, it can raise employee morale and drive connection among remote, hybrid, and in-person teams.
Another way to drive connection and spread awareness of your company values is through events. While company events might be virtual for now, hosting gatherings with internal and/or external speakers, celebrating inclusive holidays as a team, or organizing company-wide days of service can permit your employees to come together and see your values in action throughout the year.
When prioritized and embraced, your company values can drive connection and act as a guiding force for your employees. While remote and hybrid work requires you to be more deliberate about increasing the visibility of your values, the benefits can be great when this work is made an ongoing priority. Strong company values can improve the strength of your team, motivate good work, and drive connection for both remote and in-office employees.